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A’s shut out Rangers 2-0 and avoid series sweep

Some timely hitting and good pitching to wrap up a winning homestand.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Gelof homered again and the pitching staff turned in one of the best performances of the season to help the Oakland Athletics to a 2-0 win over the Texas Rangers. The A’s avoid a sweep and end their homestand with a 3-2 record.

Austin Pruitt got the start as an opener, which was a role that he had struggled in, but he got through the first inning without incident, retiring the side in order. He issued a leadoff walk to Adolis Garcia to start the second, but retired the next three hitters in order.

Freddy Tarnok took over to start the third inning and immediately gave up a first-pitch double to Josh Smith. After a strikeout of Ezequiel Duran, Tarnok walked Marcus Semien to put runners on first and second. However, he retired Travis Jankowski and Nathaniel Lowe to leave the runners stranded.

The A’s offense got going in the third. Esteury Ruiz singled with one out off Rangers starter Jordan Montgomery and then stole and second and third. Jonah Bride brought him home with a sacrifice fly to put Oakland in front 1-0.

Tarnok struck out the side in the fourth and then retired the first two hitters in the fifth before issuing a two-out walk to Ezequiel Duran. Marcus Semien followed with a ground out to end the inning.

The A’s added on in the sixth when Gelof led off the inning with a solo home run to push the lead to 2-0. Oakland also got a double by Jordan Diaz and a walk to Aledmys Diaz in the inning, but Shea Langeliers and JJ Bleday both struck out leaving the runners stranded.

Angel Felipe replaced Tarnok to start the seventh and struck out two in a scoreless frame. He stayed in to start the eighth and hit Duran with a pitch to start the inning. Semien grounded into a force out for the first out. Mark Kotsay would then signal for lefty Kirby Snead who struck out Mitch Garver and then got Lowe to fly out to Ruiz in center.

Trevor May entered in the ninth and retired the first two hitters before allowing back-to-back singles to Sam Huff and Robbie Grossman. However, he then got Smith to line out to Nick Allen at short to end the game.

Enough can’t be said for the Oakland pitching stay today. Austin Pruitt was magnificent going two innings and striking out two with one walk and zero hits. He set the tone early and it made all the difference. Piggy backing of Pruitt, Freddy Tarnok entered the game in the third and continued to where Pruitt left off. Tarnok posted four impressive innings, giving up two hits with two walks, four strikeouts and picked up the win. Collectively the A’s pitchers only gave up four hits on the day.

Zack Gelof continued to provide the spark that Oakland needed against a Rangers team that can score runs in bunches. Gelof and Bride drove in both runs while Jordan Diaz led the team with two hits on the day.

Oakland will enjoy a travel day Thursday before opening up a three-game series in Washington DC on Friday against the Nationals.